If you tuned into a Buffalo Bills game toward the end of this NFL season, you may have noticed that offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson was missing. Henderson sat out four games earlier this year and was ordered suspended for another ten after testing positive for marijuana for the fifth time — even though he uses it for legitimate medical reasons.
Henderson says he uses marijuana to combat Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder that causes abdominal pain, weight loss and fatigue. There is no medically accepted cure. But anecdotally and in small medical studies, many patients have experienced immense symptom relief or even total remission thanks to medical cannabis treatments.
But because of federal restrictions that block clinical research on marijuana, most Crohn’s patients are instead prescribed a cocktail of steroids and other drugs that merely slow the disease’s advance, along with potentially dangerous opiates to manage the pain. Most will undergo one or more surgeries over their lifetime.
The NFL says their hands are tied — policy is policy, they claim. But that isn’t always the case. In 2015, Giants kicker Josh Brown was arrested for assaulting his wife, Molly. The NFL’s domestic abuse policy mandates at least six games’ suspension — and more if the woman was pregnant, as Molly was at the time. Yet when the dust settled, Brown was suspended for just one game.
Punch a pregnant woman = one game suspension. Use cannabis medically = lose most of a season? Please.
[image: Sporting News]